A Wiltshire town was brought to a “standstill” by “traffic chaos” when temporary traffic lights were not replaced on time.

Wiltshire Council confirmed they are urgently investigating after contractors failed to switch on permanent traffic lights, allowing temporary signals to be removed, at the junction of London Road and Windsor Drive in Devizes on Tuesday, November 14.

The delay in restoring the permanent lights, which had been due to happen at 7am but took a further two hours, caused heavy congestion at the busy junction.

Works had been carried out overnight by Openreach during which time temporary signals were in place on London Road.

But when permanent lights were not switched on the following morning Openreach was forced to manually switch the temporary signals back on for the “safety” of drivers.

This caused large queues on both London Road and Windsor Drive, tailing back to Nursteed Road.

Cllr Laura Mayes described the incident as “traffic chaos” while residents reported long delays to their commutes.

She added that the council informed her they would be issuing fines as a result of the incident.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The junction of London Road and Windsor DriveThe junction of London Road and Windsor Drive (Image: Google Maps)

An Openreach spokesperson explained: “The traffic lights were due to be switched on by our partners at 7am but, due to unforeseen circumstances, this was not done. 

“When traffic in the area began to build, we switched the lights on manually until the permanent lights could be switched on. This was done for the safety of road users and as per the conditions of our permit.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused and thank everyone for their understanding while we completed the work”.

Cllr Caroline Thomas, cabinet member for transport, apologised for the inconvenience caused and told this paper the matter would be investigated further.

She said: "We're very sorry for anyone who experienced delays in Devizes this week when the road should have been clear by 7am.

"The works were due to finish at 7am, when our traffic light contractors were due to turn on the permanent traffic lights as the temporary traffic lights were turned off.

"Unfortunately, our contractors did not arrive on time and this delay led to the congestion. 

"The works have now been completed, and there should not be any further delays in this area.

"We are following this up with our traffic lights contractor, as a matter of urgency, to establish what happened and to take steps to ensure there is no reoccurrence in Devizes or anywhere else on the highways we maintain across Wiltshire."